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Prayer: The Key to Good Life

Prayer: The Key to Good Life

By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiq

The benefits of prayer are numerous, both in this world and the Hereafter.

Performing the prayer is a command of Allah. It is the most important pillar of Islam. It distinguishes between the believers and non-believers. Prayer is not an option; it is obligatory. It is not once or few times a week. But, it must be performed five times a day. All the Prophets of Almighty Allah merely told their people to pray; Islam, however, made it a very essential part of religion.

Attend constantly to prayers and to the middle prayer, and stand up truly obedient to Allah. (Al-Baqarah 2:238)

Keep up prayer from the declining of the sun till the darkness of the night and the morning recitation; surely, the morning recitation is witnessed. And during a part of the night, pray Tahajjud beyond what is incumbent on you; maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory. (Al-Israa’ 17:78-80)

Perform the regular prayer at both ends of the day, and during parts of the night, for good things drive bad away; this is a reminder for those who are aware. (Hud 11:114)

The sincere and devoted prayer helps a person to enter the Paradise, and it is the key to everything good. In fact, the benefits of prayer are numerous, both in this world and the Hereafter; its benefits are spiritual, moral, physical, individual, and social. Prayer is our link, our bond, and our communication with Allah. If you love Allah and want Him to love you, know that the prayer is the means to that. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The source of my delight is the prayer” (authenticated by Al-Albani). He used to ask Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) to give the Adhan for the prayer thus: “Give us comfort by it, O Bilal.” He used to spend a long time in his nightly prayers. Sometimes, he used to offer prayer for one-third of the night and sometimes for half of the night, or even more than that. He used to find great comfort and joy in this heart-refining act of worship. Performing prayer is rewarded both in this world and beyond.

The whole structure of prayer is so beautiful and so remarkable that there is nothing comparable to it in any religion. Prayer is not just recitation or physical movements. Yet, mind, soul and body, all three are involved together in a most harmonious way during this obligatory act of worship.

Prayer is done both individually and collectively; it is done both in public and in privacy. If we observe our prayer as it should be observed, everything in our lives will change for the better. Our relationship with Allah will be good because we shall be living fully conscious of Him all the time. Our relations with our families, our co-workers, our neighbors, and everyone and everything will be very good. By means of prayer along with the ablution, we shall be clean from sins as much as a person who takes a bath five times a day will be clean from every kind of dirt. Almighty Allah tells us in the Qur’an that the prayer precludes all kinds of evils, vulgarities, and indecencies,

Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. . (Al-`Ankabut 29:45)

Moreover, we are told in the Qur’an that those who establish prayer regularly do not experience fears or anxieties when afflicted with hardships. Allah, the Most-High, says:

Surely man is created of a hasty temperament, being greatly grieved when evil afflicts him, And niggardly when good befalls him, except those who pray,those who are constant at their prayer. (Al-Ma`arij 70:19-23)

More importantly, prayer brings about the true success in this life and in the life to come, as Almighty Allah tells us in the Qur’an,

Successful indeed are the believers. Those who pray humbly … and who keep up their prayers, they shall be the heirs who shall inherit the Paradise and they shall be there forever. (Al-Mu’minun 23:1-11)

Everyday Benefits

Prayer requires taharah (Arabic for: cleanliness of one’s body and clothes, and of the place of prayer). So, those who perform the prayer enjoy clean bodies, clean clothes, and a clean environment. In addition, prayer is to be performed on appointed times. Consequently, the regular performers of prayer learn punctuality in all their affairs and get a sense of how valuable time is.

In prayer, Muslims stand together without any distinction of race, color, financial status, or political position. Those who perform prayer in congregation regularly do learn the concepts of equality, solidarity, and brotherhood. Prayer in congregation is performed behind an imam whom everyone has to follow. This teaches them discipline, order, and organization. Moreover, if the imam makes any mistake, any person can correct him. Indeed, this is a clear sign of democracy. Let us pray regularly and pray in the best way, so that the benefits and beauty of prayer may reflect in our lives. Mu`adh ibn Jabal, one of the Prophet’s Companions, reported,

“One day the Prophet took my hand and said, ‘By Allah, I love you.’ And said, ‘I advise you, O Mu`adh, not to fail to say after every prayer the following: O Allah, help me to remember You, to thank You, and to worship You in the best way’.”(An-Nawawi)

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This article first appeared on Pakistanlink.com. Here taken from Onislam.net.

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiq is Islamic scholar of North America; Director, Orange County Islamic Center, California.

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Power of Prayer

Power of Prayer

A believer who shows determination in prayer gets much in return by earning a deep faith

Prayer, which is an important connection with God, is demanding in the sense that we demonstrate our weakness in front of Almighty Allah. Our Lord reveals that prayer is an important act of worship with the verse:

Say: ‘What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him? (Al-Furqan 25: 77)

Actually the need to form a connection with Allah exists in every man’s character, entailed in creation. However, while praying is an inseparable part of their lives for believers, for some people it is an act of worship to be remembered only when they face with difficulties or life-threatening situations. However, this is a big mistake because what is truly good is to ask for Allah’s help both in difficulty and ease and to take refuge in His mercy.

Being Determined in Prayer

Allah has made it possible for His servants to reach anything that He sees as good and beautiful. However, being determined in the prayer being made is just as important as the prayer itself. Praying with patience is an indication of the need for the desires prayed for, of the inconvenience about this matter and most importantly an indication that one’s closeness to God has increased. Being determined in prayer makes the believer more mature and bestows on him a strong will and character. A believer who shows determination in prayer gets much in return by earning a deep faith, which is more valuable than most of the things he asked for. It is revealed in the Qur’an that one needs to be determined in prayer as such:

Seek help in steadfastness and prayer. But that is a very hard thing, except for the humble. (Al-Baqarah 2: 45)

Our valuable Prophet (peace be upon him) has stated how much he needs God sometimes by praying for years on and our Lord, the All-Merciful, has given what he asked for at the best time. The fact that God accepts every prayer, both open and hidden, is due to His mightiness and grace. God never leaves any thought which crosses one’s mind without a return. However, “accepting a prayer” does not mean something happening as it was asked for because sometimes a person may be demanding something harmful to himself. Almighty Allah reveals as such about this matter:

Man prays for evil just as he prays for good. Man is prone to be impetuous. (Al-Israa’ 17: 11)

Allah knows best what is good and what is bad for a person because He is the One Who appreciates everything. As with His every work, there are many wonders hidden in the way He accepts prayers. For example, the Prophet Jacob (Ya`qub, peace be upon him) rejoining his son the Prophet Joseph (Yusuf, peace be upon him) after many long years, the Prophet Joseph gaining power and rulership after staying in prison for a long time, the Prophet Job (Ayyub, peace be upon him) being saved from the pain caused by Satan; all of these occurred after showing great patience and continuous prayers. Almighty Allah has accepted the prayers of these sincere servants of His at the best time for them and has made them mature, educated them, increased their loyalty and sincerity and turned them into servants worthy of high degrees in Paradise.

How Does Allah Accept Prayer?

• When a believer prays, he knows that Allah hears him and will always accept his prayer in any way. This is because he realizes that events do not take place in a coincidental way, but according to the destiny determined by Allah and in the way He wills. Therefore, he has no doubt that he will not have any return for his prayer. Praying with this sincere spirit causes great goodness by Allah’s leave. In one verse, it is revealed that our Lord will always accept a prayer as a manifestation of His name “Al-Mujeeb” (The Answerer of Prayers; One Who accepts the demands of those who beg to Him).

If My slaves ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided. (Al-Baqarah 2: 186)

• The reason that something asked for in a prayer is given with delay, or accepted in a completely different way, could also be that our Lord tests His servants. God may grant His blessings after certain periods of time in order to test the patience of His servants and to make them mature according to a certain reason.

Due to this and similar reasons, it cannot be expected that every prayer is realized as it is asked for and as soon as possible. As it is stated by the great Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman, Allah may give less of something asked for in prayer or sometimes more of it as a reward or because of the reasons we mentioned above He may not grant them at all. However, in every condition, Allah accepts the prayer of the one who prays to Him.

How Did Our Prophets Pray?

Praying is a way of submitting to Allah and all people need prayer. The most erudite example of this is that all Prophets pray to God by submitting to Him in every matter as revealed in the Qur’an. In the prayers of our Prophet and all other prophets, we see both their submission to Allah, the fact that they see Allah as their sole friend and helper and that they praise our Lord’s glory with His most beautiful names.

• The Prayer of Our Prophet

In the prayers of our Prophet Mohammad the most beautiful examples of citing Allah with His names are revealed. One of the verses in which our Prophet’s prayers are mentioned is as follows:

Say, ‘O Allah! Master of the Kingdom! You give sovereignty to whoever You will You take sovereignty from whoever You will. You exalt whoever You will You abase whoever You will. All good is in Your hands. You have power over all things. (Al ‘Imran 3: 26)

In the narrations, it is noted that our Prophet prayed to our Lord to give him a good morality and good nature.

“O Allah! Enhance goodness and ethics! O Divine! Remove from me bad morals!” (At-Tirmidhi, Imam Ahmad)

• The Prayer of Prophet Noah

The patience of Prophet Noah, who called his society to the true religion for years with an exemplary determination, was praised in the Qur’an. He struggled against his society that acted with enmity towards him and the believers who were with him. The fact that Prophet Noah turned to Allah in every situation and prayed by hoping for his help sincerely is a great example for believers. In one verse, it is revealed that God knew the condition Prophet Noah was in and that he prayed as follows:

He called upon his Lord: ‘I am overwhelmed, so help me!’ (Al-Qamar 54: 10)

Allah accepted Prophet Noah’s prayer and commanded him to prepare for the Flood, which was going to take place in future. Prophet Noah began to build a massive ship by the command of Allah, even though there was no sea or lake nearby. During the construction of the ship, he was continuously subject to spiritual pressure by his society. When the time came Allah’s promise was realized and the flood disaster took place.

• The Prayer of Prophet Jonah (Yunus)

In the Qur’an, it is revealed that this valuable prophet of ours separated himself from his people, as they did not respond to his calls. (Surat as-Saffat, 139–142) As it is revealed in the verses, following this, there was a draw in the ship that Prophet Jonah was traveling on and as a result of the draw it was decided that he was to be thrown into the sea. On top of these events, Prophet Jonah submitted to Allah and prayed to Him. Allah revealed this event as such in the Qur’an:

And Jonah when he left in anger and thought We would not punish him. He called out in the pitch darkness: ‘There is no god but You! Glory be to You! Truly I have been one of the wrongdoers.’ We responded to him and rescued him from his grief. That is how We rescue the belivers. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 87–88)

As it is revealed in the verses Prophet Yunus confessed his condition sincerely in his prayer.  He prayed to God and waited for His help. Our Lord, Who has infinite mercy, accepted his redemption and saved him from the stomach of the fish by accepting his prayer.

• The Prayer of the Prophet Job (Ayyub)

In the Qur’an, the Prophet Ayyub’s patience was mentioned as an example to believers. Prophet Job who received revelations from Allah and who was a selected servant (An-Nisaa’ 4: 163) experienced serious trouble and went through a difficult period. However, despite all of the heavy tribulations he was in, he always set an example for believers with his patience and submission to God:

Truly! We found him patient. How excellent (a) slave! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)! (Saad 38: 44)

The sincere prayer of this holy Prophet was revealed in one verse as follows:

And Job when he called out to his Lord, ‘Great harm has afflicted me and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful,’ (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 83)

It is revealed in the Qur’an that Almighty Allah accepted the prayer of the Prophet Job who was one of His sincere servants:

We responded to him and removed from him the harm which was afflicting him and restored his family to him, and the same again with them, as a mercy direct from Us and a Reminder to all worshippers. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 84)

Prayer, which is an important means to reach Almighty Allah, the All-Knowing and the All-Hearing, Who is nearer to man than his jugular vein: We verily created man and We know what his soul whispers to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Qaf 50: 16), is an act of worship believers carry out in every occasion and condition.

However, when believers do this, as it is revealed in the verse: But you will not will unless Allah wills… (Al-Insan 76: 30) they behave in a manner conscious of the fact that everything is always under the control of our Lord and that everything is realized by His will.

There is a Response to Sincere Prayers in Both the World and the Hereafter

Prayer leads the person towards what is going to happen in his destiny; God is the One Who determines destiny and creates prayer. However, the blessing that comes following a prayer contains prosperity in this world and a good return in the Hereafter. A person’s whole life is a result of the active or verbal prayers previously made, whether he realizes it or not.

Active prayer is our actions and efforts put forth on the subject of prayer by Allah’s leave. When this effort is not for the good pleasure of Allah –as is the case with some people- it could still be a means for an individual to reach his or her wishes, by Allah’s leave. People who do not have faith but carry out their active prayers with great ambition, for example, those who work and earn a lot, becomes rich or becomes expert about a subject and becomes famous, have reached that degree through their active struggle by holding onto causes, and again by Allah’s leave.

However, active prayers that are not made for the good pleasure of Allah will bring no benefit to the individual in the Hereafter even if a person reaches his or her objectives from time to time in this world.

No Other Than Allah is Prayed to

By the verse revealed in the Qur’an: O Prophet! Allah is enough for you, and for the faithful who follow you. (Al-Anfal 8: 64), believers know that Allah is the only One Whom to ask help. He is the most superior, the most powerful and the One Who sees and hears everything. Allah is the One Who is excluded from all deficient features, and Who is the Owner of eternal power. All power in the universe is in His hands. So help and forgiveness should be asked for only and only from Allah, Whom everyone is need for and Who Himself does not need anyone. In the Qur’an it is revealed that it is wrong to pray to others than Allah and that Allah is the sole authority of prayer:

So do not call on any other god along with Allah or you will be among those who will be punished. (Ash-Shu‘ara’ 26: 213)

Conclusion

Prayer is an example of Allah’s mercy and compassion for His servants. Believers can pray to Allah at every moment and under every condition and they are peaceful that God will accept these prayers in the best ways.

In this way, they can tell their deepest secrets and the most hidden desires to Allah, and live the goodness, prosperity and beauty that comes from the knowledge that God is the only friend, guide and helper. We can see the biggest secret in Allah accepting prayers in the lives of prophets as we have mentioned in some examples. There is a relation in praying and carrying out the actions Allah commands. The physical effort shown for Allah’s good pleasure, mercy and Paradise is an act of worship as important as prayer.

Allah revealed in the Qur’an about the importance of effort:

But as for anyone who desires the Hereafter, and strives for it with the striving it deserves, being a believer, the striving of such people will be gratefully acknowledged. (Al-Israa’: 19)

Islamic scholar Imam Rabbani explained this matter with these words:

“Desiring something means attaining it; indeed, Almighty Allah does not make His servant pray for something He will not accept.”

Believers who know that their actions are also prayers not only pray at moments of difficulty but at every moment by feeling the existence and mightiness of Allah. They preserve this close connection to Almighty Allah at every moment of their lives.

 

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Source: HarunYahya.com

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Introduction to Prayer

Introduction to Prayer

It was here in Makkah where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was visited by the Archangel Gabriel. Muhammad was flown from his house in Makkah to Jerusalem mounted on Al-Buraq, which travelled at the speed of light.

When he arrived in Jerusalem Prophet Muhammad led the previous Prophets in prayer at AL-Masjid Al-Aqsa.  After he was descending to the heavens it was there that the prayer was established and made compulsory.

It’s till today that the nation of Muhammad (peace be upon him) answer the call to prayer in order to thank, praise and remember Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (Exalted is He).

As the sound of the Adhan (call to Prayer) is heard throughout the world, Muslims stop and turn to the Lord, thanking Him, remembering Him, bowing down to him in prayer.

Salah is the most important Pillar of Islam after the two Shahadah (testimony of faith): ‘Ash hadu an la ilaha illa Allah, wa ash hadu anna Mohammadan rasoolu Allah’ (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger).

The aim of the project is to introduce salah to those who don’t know how to pray at all, for beginners or for those who have some idea or for those who want to perfect their prayer.

 

 

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About Prayer: The Second Pillar of Islam

About Prayer: The Second Pillar of Islam

Though individual performance of salah is permissible, collective worship in the mosque has special merit .

Though individual performance of salah is permissible, collective worship in the mosque has special merit .

Prayer (Salah) is the daily ritual prayer enjoined upon all Muslims as one of the five Pillars of Islam. It is performed five times a day by all Muslims. Salah is a precise worship, different from praying on the inspiration of the moment. Muslims pray or, perhaps more correctly, worship five times throughout the day:

• Between first light and sunrise.

• After the sun has passed the middle of the sky.

• Between mid-afternoon and sunset.

• Between sunset and the last light of the day.

• Between darkness and midnight.

Each prayer may take at least 5 minutes, but it may be lengthened as a person wishes.  Muslims can pray in any clean environment, alone or together, in a mosque or at home, at work or on the road, indoors or out. Under special circumstances, such as illness, journey, or war, certain allowances in the prayers are given to make their offering easy.

Having specific times each day to be close to God helps Muslims remain aware of the importance of their faith, and the role it plays in every part of life. Muslims start their day by cleaning themselves and then standing before their Lord in prayer. The prayers consist of recitations from the Qur’an in Arabic and a sequence of movements: standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting.

All recitations and movements express submission, humility, and homage to God. The various postures Muslims assume during their prayers capture the spirit of submission; the words remind them of their commitments to God. The prayer also reminds one of belief in the Day of Judgment and of the fact that one has to appear before his or her Creator and give an account of their entire life. This is how a Muslim starts their day. In the course of the day, Muslims dissociate themselves form their worldly engagements for a few moments and stand before God. This brings to mind once again the real purpose of life.

These prayers serve as a constant reminder throughout the day to help keep believers mindful of God in the daily stress of work, family, and distractions of life. Prayer strengthens faith, dependence on God, and puts daily life within the perspective of life to come after death and the last judgment. As they prepare to pray, Muslims face Mecca, the holy city that houses the Ka`bah (the ancient place of worship built by Abraham and his son Ishmael, peace be upon them). At the end of the prayer, the Shahadah (testimony of faith) is recited, and the greeting of peace, ‘Peace be upon all of you and the mercy and blessings of God’, is repeated twice.

Though individual performance of salah is permissible, collective worship in the mosque has special merit and Muslims are encouraged to perform certain salah with others.  With their faces turned in the direction of the Ka`bah in Makkah, the worshipers align themselves in parallel rows behind the imam, or prayer leader, who directs them as they execute the physical postures coupled with Qur’an recitations. In many Muslim countries, the ‘call to prayer’, or ‘Adhan’, echoes out across the rooftops. Aided by a megaphone the muezzin calls out:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest, God is the greatest),

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest, God is the greatest),

Ash-hadu an-laa ilaaha ill-Allah (I witness that none deserves worship except God).

Ash-hadu an-laa ilaaha ill-Allah (I witness that none deserves worship except God).

Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ar-Rasul-ullah (I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God).

Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ar-Rasul-ullah (I witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God).

Hayya `alas-Salah (Come to prayer)

Hayya `alas-Salah (Come to prayer)

Hayya `alal-Falah (Come to prosperity)

Hayya `alal-Falah (Come to prosperity)

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest, God is the greatest),

La ilaaha ill-Allah (None deserves worship except God).

Friday Prayer

Friday is the weekly day of communal worship in Islam. The weekly convened Jumu`ah (Friday Prayer) is the most important service. The Friday Prayer is marked by the following features:

• It falls in the same time as the noon prayer which it replaces.

• It must be performed in a congregation led by a prayer leader, an ‘Imam.’ It cannot be offered individually. Muslims in the West try to arrange their schedules to allow them time to attend the prayer.

• Rather than a day of rest like the Sabbath, Friday is a day of devotion and extra worship.  A Muslim is allowed normal work on Friday as on any other day of the week. They may proceed with their usual activities, but they must break for the Friday prayer. After the worship is over, they can resume their mundane activities.

• Typically, the Friday Prayer is performed in a mosque, if available. Sometimes, due to unavailability of a mosque, it may be offered at a rented facility, park, etc.

• When the time for prayer comes, the Adhan is pronounced. The Imam then stands facing the audience and delivers his sermon (known as khutbah in Arabic), an essential part of the service of which its attendance is required. While the Imam is talking, everyone present listens to the sermon quietly till the end. Most Imams in the West will deliver the sermon in English, but some deliver it in Arabic. Those who deliver it in Arabic usually deliver a short speech in the local language before the service.

• There are two sermons delivered, one distinguished from the other by a brief sitting of the Imam. The sermon is commenced with words of praise of God and prayers of blessing for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

• After the sermon, the prayer is offered under the leadership of the Imam who recites the Fatihah (the 1st chapter of the Qur’an) and the other Qur’anic passage in an audible voice.  When this is done, the prayer is completed.

Special, large congregational prayers, which include a sermon, are also offered at late morning on the two days of festivity. One of them is immediately following the month of fasting, Ramadan, and the other after the pilgrimage, or hajj.

Although not religiously mandated, individual devotional prayers, especially during the night, are emphasized and are a common practice among pious Muslims.

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Source: islamreligion.com

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Are We Praying the Real Prayer?

Are We Praying the Real Prayer?

Are you alive to the significance of your prayer? If yes, you should be working on strengthening your own unique link with your Lord.

Besides, what does khush` in prayer truly mean? Is it just about praying slowly?

What does the Qur’an say about the khush`? How could one get his heart, mind, body and soul collectively attentive in salah (prayer)?  How could we develop that link with God?

Have you ever contemplated on God’s words: Successful indeed are the believers, Who are humble in their prayers. (Al-Mu’minun 23:1-2)?

Learn here how to get on the trail…

 

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This video is a part of a lecture by Sheikh Abu Bilal Sanel titled ‘Common Mistakes Made in the Prayer’.

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Feeling Allah’s Existence While Praying

Feeling Allah’s Existence While Praying

Feel God's Existence While Praying--

We must remember that prayer is both an important duty towards Allah and a means that will help us attain our next lives.

One of the essentials of prayer is having firm faith in Allah. In situations in which one feels desperate, people feel no doubt about Allah’s existence and His help. Yet a person ought also to feel Allah’s existence, might and grandeur while praying during times of ease. In fact, not only during prayer, but at every instant of daily life, a believer should retain this awareness.

At every moment he must feel Allah’s existence and closeness and pray, for only someone who is cognizant of Allah’s existence acknowledges the meaning and importance of prayer. Prayer is an intimate and personal bond between people and Allah. Through prayer, people express all their troubles and wishes to Allah and implore Him to assist them. In return, Allah answers His servants’ prayer.

Prayer in the Qur’anic sense can by no means be limited to a few rituals. As the verse “… remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on your sides.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:103) maintains, one can bring Allah to mind and pray to Him at any time and under all conditions, without necessarily performing any particular ritual or ceremony. That is because what matters is not the outward performance but one’s sincerity.

Misunderstanding this strips prayer of its actual meaning and causes it to be perceived as a form of magic or spell. We can see this by the superstitious practices of some ignorant people such as fastening clothes to trees or blowing into water. It is well to remember that superstition is the opposite of the Qur’anic rationale. Instead of directly turning to Allah and asking for their needs from Him, these ignorant people devise some superstitious rituals or symbols and pray through these means. Meanwhile, they are unaware on whom they call. They attribute supernatural power to those objects they pray to, yet they fail to describe the nature of this power. This includes the superstitious practice of visiting tombs and praying to the dead to ask for help, whereas visiting tombs should be to remind us of death and the power of Allah.

A believer who complies with Allah’s command which says, “Remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him completely.” (Al-Muzzammil 73:8) turns to Allah alone, and submits and pleads to Him.

 

Striking a Balance between Hope and Fear While Praying

In the Qur’an, Allah refers to Himself as, “… the Most Merciful of the merciful…” (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 83). It is also stated that, provided that one asks for repentance, anyone who does evil will find Allah forgiving. (An-Nisaa’ 4:110) For this reason, people must reflect upon this attribute of Allah and pray with hope. No matter how serious an error a person may have committed, and is in deep remorse over it, it is not a reason for him or her to despair of Allah’s forgiveness. Thus, the state of mind caused by erring and committing a sin must never become an impediment for a prayer of hope for forgiveness, for Allah states in the Qur’an that only disbelievers lose hope in Allah’s mercy:

 

… Do not despair of solace from Allah. No one despairs of solace from Allah except for people who disbelieve. (Yusuf 12:87)

In addition, no one is immune to punishment in Hell. Indeed Allah warns people against this, saying, “No one is safe from the punishment of his Lord.” (Al-Ma`arij 70:28) For this reason, everyone must fear Allah as much as he or she can. Human beings, whose life is a test, are always vulnerable to Satan’s cunning deceptions and are thus very likely to go astray and turn away from the righteous path. Nobody is guaranteed a place in Paradise. This makes a person fear failing to attain Allah’s good pleasure, while hoping for Allah’s mercy.

Indeed, one of the attributes of a true believer that distinguishes him from all others is his fear of Allah, since a disbeliever doubts even the existence of Hell. Believers, however, are fully cognizant of Hell’s existence, and they see it as a very serious threat. Having an unswerving faith in the Day of Judgment, they feel the greatest fear. Only a person who has faith in Allah and avoids arrogance is influenced in her conduct by this fear: she feels no doubt about the existence and severity of the torment of Hell, and never assumes an attitude or behavior that may involve the risk of being thrown into it. She only aspires to the life in the hereafter that abounds with infinite beauty and makes every effort to distance herself from torment. The fear a believer feels for the hereafter manifests itself in his or her prayer.

That is why we find the concepts of fear and hope side by side in the Qur’an. If a person fails to fear the torment of Hell while praying, this is due to an essential failure of thinking and comprehension. Just as how eagerly a person prays to attain Paradise, so must he, for avoidance of Hell. In other words, through fear of Hell, he hopes to attain Paradise. Some of the verses that mention this are as follows:

Do not corrupt the earth after it has been put right. Call on Him fearfully and eagerly. Allah’s mercy is close to the good-doers. (Al-A`raf 7:56)


Their sides eschew their beds as they call on their Lord in fear and ardent hope. And they give of what We have provided for them.
(As-Sajda 32:16)

As is seen, fear and hope are the two essential feelings that are proper to prayer as described in the Qur’an. In fact, a careful scrutiny of the Qur’an reveals the vital importance these two concepts represent for all forms of worship and in every instant of one’s life.

We must remember that prayer is both an important duty towards Allah and a means that will help us attain our next lives, for in the Qur’an Allah states that the end of those who fail to offer prayers to Allah will be the eternal torment in Hell.

 

Your Lord says, “Call on Me and I will answer you. Those who are too proud to worship Me will enter Hell abject”. (Ghafir 40:60)

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The article was first published in Harun Yahya’s book: Prayer in the Qur’an. Here taken with kind permission from www.harunyahya.com.

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